Sep 3, 2009

Crime, punishment and the quality of mercy

PRINCETON, N.J. — The recent release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, convicted of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, sparked outrage. Around the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles, an American football team, offered a second chance to former star ...

Aug 25, 2009

Opening a regulated market for kidney sales

PRINCETON, N.J. — The arrest in New York last month of Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, a Brooklyn businessman whom police allege tried to broker a deal to buy a kidney for $160,000, coincided with the passage of a law in Singapore that some say will open ...

Jul 18, 2009

German genetics law a double-edged sword

MELBOURNE — In April, Germany’s parliament placed limits on the use of genetic diagnosis. Is the new German law a model for other countries to follow as we grapple with the ethical issues posed by our growing knowledge of human genetics? Some provisions of ...

Jun 21, 2009

Sustainable welfare plus profits

MELBOURNE — Something new is happening at Harvard Business School. As graduation nears for the first class to complete their master of business administration since the onset of the global financial crisis, students are circulating an oath that commits them to an “ethical” pursuit ...

May 18, 2009

Recognizing the 'pale blue dot' is to revere it

MELBOURNE — The 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote: “Two things fill the heart with ever renewed and increasing awe and reverence, the more often and more steadily we meditate upon them: the starry firmament above and the moral law within.” This year, the ...

Apr 19, 2009

Freedom of religion or freedom of speech?

PRINCETON N.J. — Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning “defamation of religion” as a human rights violation. According to the text of the resolution, “Defamation of religion is a serious affront to human dignity” that leads to “a ...

Mar 19, 2009

A place for charity even in these tough times

PRINCETON, New Jersey — As I tour America promoting my new book, “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty,” I am often asked if this isn’t the wrong time to call on affluent people to increase their effort to end ...

Feb 18, 2009

Are we ready for a new form of capitalism?

MELBOURNE — Is the global financial crisis an opportunity to forge a new form of capitalism based on sound values? So French President Nicholas Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair appear to think. At a symposium in Paris last month titled “New ...

Jan 19, 2009

In vitro fertilization stands test of 30 years

MELBOURNE, Australia — Louise Brown, the first person to be conceived outside a human body, turned 30 last year. The birth of a “test-tube baby,” as the headlines described in vitro fertilization, was highly controversial at the time. Leon Kass, who subsequently served as ...

Oct 29, 2008

Obama, McCain all but ignore poverty issue

PRINCETON — Barack Obama worked for three years as a community organizer on Chicago’s blighted South Side, so he knows all about the real poverty that exists in America. He knows that in one of the world’s richest nations, 37 million people live in ...